Widgets :: Blog
Fabbrication In My Humble Opinion 2013-10-29T04:38:19Z Serendipity 1.4.1 - en
You are viewing an ATOM formatted XML site feed. Usually this file is inteded to be viewed in an aggregator or syndication software. If you want to know more about ATOM, please visist
admin 2013-10-29T04:38:19Z 2013-10-29T04:38:19Z 2013-10-29T04:38:19Z 0 Lightspeed Retail POS Issues
I continue to wish that the state Point of Sale software didn't suck so bad, here in the year 2013.

After having trouble with QuickBooks POS in our store, we made a big investment in time and money to switch to Lightspeed Retail POS. The biggest motivator was the ability to integrate inventory control with an open source web store platform.

Lightspeed POS does a lot of things brilliantly, but we continue to have some real showstopper issues with Lightspeed.

I really want to help these folks succeed. I've offered my help in support tickets, but if I can't get any response to showstopper bugs through their support system, we're backed into a corner, and we have to attract some public attention. When your family business is on the line, what choice do you have.

I hope to update this post with a success story on how we worked together to fix our bugs and launch a brilliant web store in time for the holidays.
admin 2013-02-19T06:57:16Z 2013-02-19T06:57:16Z 2013-02-19T06:57:16Z 0 Quickbooks POS and Intuit Merchant Services
You can help us get the work out about this by sharing our information about Intuit Merchant Services.

A couple of years ago, I took some time off work to help my wife start a new retail store. For our point of sale, we wanted an affordable point of sale system for ringing up sales and tracking inventory. We decided to use Intuit's Quickbooks Point of Sale (POS), for lack of a better option.

Fast forward almost four years, and we're being forced to ditch the system because of difficulty dealing with their credit card processor, Intuit Merchant Services.
admin 2012-02-27T18:52:59Z 2012-02-27T18:52:59Z 2013-10-29T04:48:26Z 0 How Continental Airlines Avoids the Passenger's Bill of Rights
Continental / United has figured out how to save money on those pesky oversold flight, bumped passenger fees now mandated by law: Bump the biggest group and only compensate one of them. Nice try. Thanks for spreading the word. United did finally do the right thing and reimburse us.

On a recent trip back from the east coast, my family of three got bumped from an oversold flight. In this case, the airline must pay the customers certain fees in accordance with the Passengers Bill of Rights. Continental Airlines has not lived up to these requirements.

How it Happened

We were very surprised when we were the last ones to be considered for a seat. We checked in for our flight about 9 hours in advance, and were at the gate two hours before departure. I kept asking the gate staff why we were not offered a seat in the order which we checked in, and they basically ignored me.

Continental's Trick: Three Bumps for the Price of One

After everybody boarded every last seat, (being told we were not getting on the flight at all as it is oversold, a discussion I have on video), we were told to go to the customer service counter. There the manager told us he would offer us three flight vouchers, or would only pay the required passenger fee *just once*. Their excuse for this obvious rip-off? The lady at the gate was saying I refused to board and so we really should get nothing. True, I was offered one seat at the last moment, as the gate was closing. I said I cannot leave my family stranded at the airport at night and said go ahead and let the other person (another party of two was the second-to-last group to be bumped) travel.

It really appears they decided to bump us because we were a party of three (two adults, one 3 year old), to be able to cheat two of us out of any sort of compensation. They're trying to bump three passengers for the price of one.

If you are travelling with a family on Continental Air, keep in mind you may be more likely to be bumped, and then denied proper compensation. At the end of the boarding there were two parties (our party of three, and another party of two), each group with one seat assigned. They tried to split us up, saying one of each party can go. I said no, not without my family, and that is an excuse for them to claim they owe us nothing as we "refused to board".

I have requested in writing that we receive two (2) fees for the bumped passengers (wife and child) as well as some compensation for me "giving up my seat" to the other bumped passenger. I thought this was a fair compromise from getting three (3) full bump fees. Continental has denied this request, saying if anything was due, I would have received it at the gate.

Actually, the gate staff was argumentative and said we get nothing since I refused to leave my wife and child. In reality, the staff was stressed out and very annoyed with my persistant line of questions around boarding order. Only after talking to the manager at the customer service center, were we offered a hotel and one bumped passenger fee.

So, between an angry gate employee who thought we deserved absolutely nothing (she was fed up with my questions, no doubt about it), and the Continental manager, they "compromised" to cheat us out of most of our required compensation.

Continental's official response:
9:52 AM (1 hour ago)

to me
Dear Mr. Fabbri:

Thank you for contacting us via email on February 15, 2012 concerning
your family's experience at Newark Liberty Airport on February 15, 2012.
I regret that you were not accommodated on Continental Flight 1665 from
Newark to Portland on February 15, 2012. I am unable to grant your
request for denied boarding compensation. If any denied boarding
compensation were due, it would have been issued by the agents at Gate
C72 on February 15, 2012.


Sara Dornacker
United Airlines Customer Care

Update: United did finally do the right thing and reimburse us. It wasn't easy but they saw the light. Thanks!

admin 2012-02-25T12:19:00Z 2012-02-25T12:19:00Z 2012-02-25T12:19:00Z 0 Fear the Habanero Fritters
Ate half of a fritter last night and just about died. Need to keep training.
Man v. Food - Super Spicy Fritters in Portland
Adam visits Salvador Molly's in Portland, Oregon where he attempts to win the Great Balls of Fire Challenge -- taking down 5 habanero fritters with habanero salsa -- to ge
admin 2012-02-01T12:20:00Z 2012-02-01T12:20:00Z 2012-02-01T12:20:00Z 0 Grizly Bear Cub & Wolf Cub Playing
Need a pick-me-up dose of cuteness? Here ya go: Lil' Bear and Tala playing in the Gift Shop of the Woodland Zoo. Note: In the middle of the clip there are pictures of these guys as they are 6 years later.
admin 2011-04-09T23:13:28Z 2011-04-09T23:13:28Z 2012-02-27T18:52:56Z 0 Motorola Defy Screen Crack - Manufacturer Defect?
My wife's fairly new Motorola Defy phone just cracked all the way across the screen after she plugged it in to the charger. Motorola says it is not covered under the one year warranty. T-Mobile is not willing to help either. We are positive this is a manufacturer defect because:

1. We were just using the phone (Remember the Milk app, which we are both figuring out how to use), and it was fine. She plugged it in to charge, came back 15 minutes later, and it was cracked all the way across!

2. This is marketed as a rugged phone. This is why we bought it. It is water and shock resistant. Yet this phone has not even the slightest scratch and the screen has completely come apart.

I did a quick google search and it looks like we are not the only ones having this issue.

So far we called Motorola, and they said "physical damage is not covered under warranty regardless of how it was caused". So, if Motorola screws up manufacturing and puts out some defective handsets (e.g. there is a piece of debris under the glass mount because they didn't follow clean room manufacturing practices, and then the glass fails because of this) they are not going to help you.

Contrast this with my friend's experience with his Apple product. He dropped it on the floor 9 months after purchase. The screen cracked. They fixed it for him even though it was actually mistreated.

I recently cracked the screen on my Samsung phone. It also was not covered under warranty, but I was ok with this as , in this case, I did actually drop the phone a few feet. The Defy, on the other hand, just cracked for no good reason.
admin 2011-01-04T03:25:10Z 2011-01-04T03:25:10Z 2011-01-04T03:25:10Z 0 Part 2. Portland, Oregon: worst air quality
This follows up on my original post on Portland Oregon having the worst air quality in the nation today.

In my first post I asked why Portland doesn't even have burn advisories like other cities. Turns out our immediate neighbor to the North, only a mile away, has these things. This doesn't mean they have clean air, as you can see in the photo in this story, but it is a step in the right direction.

Washington State, in general, has more laws regulating very dirty fires than Oregon.

admin 2011-01-03T22:03:07Z 2011-01-03T22:03:07Z 2011-01-18T20:43:58Z 0 Portland, Oregon worst air quality in nation today.
Congratulations Portland Oregon! You had the worst air quality in the nation today.

Updates: see Part 2

Oh and thanks for giving my two year old asthma. Awesome. The greenest city in the USA!
[End sarcasm.]

Source: "USG" means unhealthy for sensitive groups. Portland allows 100% unregulated wood burning even when there is an air stagnation warning, like today.

Why do other cities have no burn days, but we don't?

More thoughts after the cut...

Continue reading "Portland, Oregon worst air quality in nation today."
admin 2009-11-27T07:20:17Z 2009-11-27T07:20:17Z 2009-11-28T07:11:24Z 0 MediaTemple gets hacked, doesn't fess up to customers.
The popular web hosting provider MediaTemple has posted a security advisory on a huge security breach they just had.

Unfortunately, MediaTemple was slow to act on this intrusion, and still is not admitting to customers the extent of the security breach.

My understanding of the incident, (as also blogged here and here), is that someone got ahold of many of the admin passwords for Grid Service (GS) accounts and thus had full SSH and FTP access to such accounts. This was noticed some time after it happened, when malicious scripts started popping up on people's accounts.

Read more below...
Continue reading "MediaTemple gets hacked, doesn't fess up to customers."
admin 2009-04-03T03:18:29Z 2009-04-03T03:18:29Z 2009-04-03T03:36:20Z 0 is Evil
I recently stumbled upon when I noticed they had a "profile" about me published online. It contained incorrect information about me and my employment.

I didn't see a way on the site to delete the information, so I sent them a message requesting deletion. In reply, I received a canned response that ignored my request. Such an easily-gamed system should really include a method to delete bad information.

A little more searching revealed that this company is evil. Evil as in not making the world a better place. I'm not the first one to come to this conclusion, either. review, another review, an example of someone using to slander someone.

As I understand it, their business model is to install spyware on people's computer which downloads email (Outlook) address books to their databases. They later "monetize" this info, by posting it online or, presumably, selling it.

How would the people at Spoke felt if others published inaccurate information about them online? They claim all the information is publicly available. Why then, would need to be using spyware to populate their databases?

Someone needs to make a site dedicated to all the people who work at spoke and populate it with publicly available information. Next, a bunch of people can link to these profiles so Google ranks our site first.

Now, if we were to be lazy about updating their information, or to accidentally post info about the wrong John Smith, our work will be done. They will have a taste of what it is like to have stale or outright incorrect information published about them online.

Keep reading below for names of the current board and management at Spoke...

Continue reading " is Evil"
admin 2008-11-28T08:45:33Z 2008-11-28T08:45:33Z 2008-11-28T08:49:47Z 1 Brewing Death by Coffee Stout: Part 2
Brewing a hyper-caffeinated stout beer: Part 2

(see part 1 here)

In the second of our three part series on brewing a high-caffeine coffee stout, we strain our cold water coffee extract, and then boil the wort.

Stay tuned for part three, along with a full written recipe and instructions how to homebrew this Death by Coffee Stout.

admin 2008-11-23T02:24:13Z 2008-11-23T02:24:13Z 2008-11-30T02:37:11Z 0 Brewing Death by Coffee Stout: Part 1
Brewing a hyper caffeinated stout beer: Part 1
This is part one of a series of posts on making a very caffeinated, dark beer, Death By Coffee Stout. In part one, I prepare 2.5 gallons of cold water coffee extract.

Tomorrow, I will strain out the extract, and mix it with my stout beer wort (malt, hops, etc.) and then yeast to start fermenting this mad concoction.

Read part two next.
admin 2008-10-21T22:35:31Z 2008-10-21T22:35:31Z 2008-11-25T17:55:02Z 0 Paul Binnings, RIP
Paul Binnings of Carson City, NV recently passed away. He was a life-long jazz musician, (my) grandfather, and all around cool guy.

How do I feel about it? Angry. I'm angry because I have been meaning to spend time with Paul and catch up. Next time I'm in Nevada, I'd tell myself. I wanted to have a long chat with him about the history of Jazz in the US. I'm not sure he knows how much I respected and looked up to him. Bummer.

In a sad attempt to regain some pieces of Paul, I've been looking on the Internet for some history of his career. There isn't much out there, since the Internet is so new. Here are some links, which are a work in progress...

Paul Binnings the Jazz Musician

Other Stuff

Keep reading for a video and pictures from the funeral. :-(
Continue reading "Paul Binnings, RIP"
admin 2008-09-30T18:47:58Z 2008-09-30T18:47:58Z 2008-10-15T04:17:49Z 0 Intrade Story on ABC News
Intrade is an online futures market where people can speculate on things like "Is Britney going back into rehab this year", or "Who will be elected the US president?". Since there are many people, putting their money where their mouth is, it is a fairly accurate predictor of events.

admin 2008-09-26T23:20:56Z 2008-09-26T23:20:56Z 2008-09-26T23:20:56Z 0 The Cellphone that Does It All